Behind the scenes of hundreds of lost dog cases in Connecticut there is a team of volunteers actively seeking to get them home.
Every week, the Canton-based CT Dog Gone Recovery typically finds about 10 to 15 lost dogs. The group has about 40 to 50 volunteers across the state skilled at tracking and humanely trapping lost dogs.
“We have kennel traps, box traps, laser traps, trip plate traps, traps that fall out of trees,” said Melissa Carpenter, a volunteer with CT Dog Gone Recovery.
Not every lost dog is found. But you don’t have to scroll far down the group’s Facebook page to find plenty of recovery stories. Even the most hopeless cases can end happily. The group once helped find a dog 40 miles from its Rocky Hill home who was missing for four months.
Every dog that’s found gets a “reunited” label over the bright yellow flier that features a picture of the dog, its breed, weight, and when and where it went missing.
Michael Albert’s dog Dell, a scruffy Cairn Terrier mix, is among the “reunited” dogs on the group’s Facebook page.
The 14-pound dog was missing for 17 days in Easton before Carpenter, with help from the community, found him safe two miles from his home.
In early August, Dell escaped just hours after Albert adopted him. Albert suspects that Dell was stressed by his new surroundings and ran off.
Albert reached out to CT Dog Gone Recovery to help find Dell. Carpenter, who lives in Southport, took the case. She looked for new leads on Dell’s whereabouts every day and found out he was spotted in the North Park Avenue, Adams Road, and Sport Hill Road areas. From that point, Carpenter used the information to make plans to find him.
One of the first things she did was to make the community aware that Dell was missing. Fliers with Dell’s picture were printed and distributed throughout the town as well as being placed into many Easton mailboxes.
With a community watch now active, neighbors continued to call and report on Facebook any sightings of Dell. People left out food and water for him. Someone suggested using a heat drone to find him.
All the while, Carpenter was monitoring Facebook posts about Dell. She told people not to approach him because he would run away. She needed to assess his natural path so she could trap him. Calling his name would make him feel hunted and leave the neighborhood, she said.
It turned out that Dell had travelled to a new neighborhood about two miles from his home. This enabled Carpenter and her crew to set up traps and cameras in the areas where he was finally captured safely.
“She (Carpenter) took an educated guess as to where to set the traps,” said Albert.
CT Dog Gone Recovery volunteers work throughout the state through a business platform called Slack. All the volunteers are connected through Slack, where they receive referral forms filled out by the owners of lost dogs.
From there a volunteer is assigned to the missing dog, based on their location in the state. Referral forms, which are found on the group’s website, list multiple instructions for what to do when your dog initially goes missing. There is a helpful walk through that takes you step-by-step on who to contact, precautions to take about scams, as well as volunteer resources and safety tips.
The volunteers work together to keep the information on their social media sites updated with sightings of the dog.
“We were very lucky to have crossed paths with them,” said Albert.
As to why she volunteers for the group, Carpenter, who is a registered nurse, said, “I always had a love for animals, especially dogs.”
More information on CT Dog Gone Recovery and their volunteers can be found on their Facebook group by clicking here.